With both my mom and step-dad working, I ended up having to go to day care after school and during the summers as a kid. Apparently I was not trusted to stay home by myself until I was in junior high (lame). The good thing about this, especially when I got older, was that I had a little more freedom at the day care than the other kids. Case in point, during the summer while all the other kids had to do nap time, I spent the time playing cards with the day care workers or watching TV. Anyways, One of the times that I was watching TV, I remember watching part of this movie and thought it was one of the craziest movies I had ever seen. I would see it many other times over the years and decided to buy it on DVD after catching part of it on TV a few years ago. So let’s have a bit of ridiculous to start the day as I watch today’s movie, Time Bandits.
The plot: 11 year old Kevin is busy reading about Ancient Greece and telling his parents various facts but his parents essentially ignore him and tell him to go to his bed. As he lays in bed, he imagines seeing a knight on horseback come crashing out of his wardrobe and go riding off into the woods where his wall was. Ducking under the covers, Kevin peeks back out to find everything is normal and goes to check the wall just as his father pokes his head in the room and asks what the noise was. The next day, Kevin’s mom complains about several appliances going haywire and Kevin makes plans to try and take a picture of what ever comes through his wardrobe that night. As he is about to fall asleep, 6 dwarves (Randall, Fidgit, Strutter, Og, Wally, and Vermin) step out of the wardrobe. When Kevin signs his flashlight on them, the dwarves get scared but after realizing that he is just a kid, they attack him and demand he show them the way out. When they accidentally push against the bedroom wall, it moves outward and the dwarves, realizing they found the way out, begin pushing on the wall and reveal a long hallway. Kevin watches them continue pushing on the wall when a ghostly face appears and tells the dwarves to return the map they stole. Frightened by what is happening, Kevin ends up helping the dwarves push on the wall until it opens up into a black void, which they all fall into. Kevin and the dwarves land in a farmhouse and as Randall (their leader) pulls out the map to figure out where they are, Kevin uses the opportunity to run away. He soon runs into some soldiers, as well as a group of injured men and women fleeing a city, and learns that he is in Italy during the Napoleonic Wars. Randall and the other dwarves catch up to Kevin, revealing that they had stolen the map from the Supreme Being, who they used to work for, and are now traveling through history to steal various treasures. Entering the nearby town, they make plans to steal Napoleon’s treasures, much to Kevin’s shock. Seeing Napoleon watching a theater production, the dwarves end up on stage and entertaining Napoleon, who ends up dismissing his generals and having Randall and the others replace them, due to their being shorter than himself. While they are eating dinner, Napoleon falls asleep and Randall has Strutter go look for the time hole out of there while he and the others begin looting the room. After Strutter finds the portal, they quickly leave but the guards get suspicious and chase after them only for Kevin and the dwarves to disappear in the portal. They end up crashing into a carriage and as the occupants quickly run away, Kevin realizes that they have landed in the middle ages. Fidgit and the others want to have Kevin join them and Randall asks Kevin if he really wants to before he agrees. Remembering that he has a camera, Kevin takes a picture of the dwarves holding the map when they hear a scream and find a group of bandits robbing the carriage occupants. Kevin and the dwarves follow them but end up being captured and, as Randall talks to the bandits and convinces them to let them go, asks to see their boss. The bandits take them to their camp, where Kevin and the others discover that the bandits’ leader is Robin Hood. Robin Hood invites them to join his gang but as Randall and the others see Robin Hood handing out their recently stolen treasure to the poor, they decide to leave, taking Kevin with them. Unbeknownst to Kevin and the dwarves, they are being observed by Evil. Evil feels the Supreme Being wasted his chance in creating reality and he wants to use the map to recreate it in his own image. Evil possesses Og and convinces Randall and the others to head to a place where the most fantastic item in the world is kept. Before they can head off, the Supreme Being appears in the woods and they are forced to try and find a way out. As they head for the portal, two of them open up but the dwarves find themselves stuck and Kevin ends up going through a portal on his own. Kevin ends up in Ancient Greece, landing on top of King Agamemnon, who was in the midst of fighting a warrior wearing a bull’s head. With the bull-headed warrior distracted by Kevin’s arrival, Agamemnon is able to kill the warrior and then asks Kevin if the Gods sent him. Thanking him for saving him, Agamemnon invites Kevin to head back to his city and Kevin refuses at first, saying he has to wait for his friends, but when Agamemnon goes to leave him in the desert, Kevin changes his mind. Agamemnon takes Kevin to Mycenae, and, with Kevin wanting to stay there, decides to adopt him and make him his heir. As a celebration is held in Kevin’s honor, Randall and the others show up, disguised as part of the entertainment, and claiming to be magicians, grab various treasures and Kevin and, hiding behind a cloth, disappear into a portal, with Agamemnon and his court believing it to be part of the act at first. Kevin and the others land on board the Titanic and Kevin is upset that they didn’t leave him in Ancient Greece, as it is his favorite period of history, but Randall tries to comfort him by saying he really didn’t belong there. When the Titanic sinks, Kevin and the dwarves find themselves floating on some of the debris and Evil takes the opportunity to have them reach the portal to his realm, the Time of Legends. Kevin and the dwarves are captured by an ogre and his wife and brought aboard their ship. As the wife heads down to make preparations to cook them, the ogre works on scaring Kevin and the dwarves while placing them in a pot but his back is bothering him. Kevin offers to help him and he and the dwarves start stretching the ogre’s back before throwing him overboard. When the ogre’s wife goes to check on him, they knock her overboard as well, then sail off in the ship. Suddenly, they find the boat is stuck on the head of a giant, who makes his way onto shore. Pulling up the planks to expose the giant’s head, Kevin uses the ogre’s sleeping potion and pours it into some fireplace bellows, then he and the dwarves jab it into the giant’s head and pour the potion into it, causing the giant to fall asleep. Leaving the boat, Kevin and the dwarves end up wandering through a desert until they come across an invisible barrier and Randall excitedly exclaims that the Fortress of Darkness is on the other side. Wally and the other dwarves think Randall has gone mad and want to leave, grabbing the map from him. As Randall and Wally argue, Randall throws a skull at Wally and ends up smashing the barrier, revealing the Fortress of Darkness. They head inside and a game show host appears, offering them the most fantastic item in the world. Randall and the other dwarves are overcome by greed and, despite Kevin warning them it is a trap, quickly rush off to reach the prize. When they get there, the host asks for the map and when Randall shows it, he grabs it, revealing himself to be Evil, then has Kevin and the dwarves trapped in a cage and suspended over a bottomless pit. As the dwarves despair over being captured, Kevin is looking through his pictures and sees the one with the dwarves holding the map. Showing it to Randall, they realize that there is a hole in the fortress they can use to escape. They manage to escape the cage and using some shavings from the rope holding the cage, manage to get to safety. Randall and the dwarves want to leave but Kevin convinces them that they have to get the map away from Evil. They manage to grab the map but Evil spots them and transforms Og into a pig-man, then sends his minions after them. Kevin and Og stay behind to distract Evil while he sends the others to go get help throughout time. Evil captures Kevin and Og, then destroys his creations as he gets the map back. Evil transforms Og completely into a pig and is about to kill Kevin when Randall and the others show up with the help they acquired. Evil easily kills the cowboys, archers, and knights that attack him, then takes control of the tank and space ship that Randall and Wally are in, making them attack each other. Fidgit is killed during the fight and Evil is about to kill the rest of them when he is suddenly engulfed in fire and reduced to an ashen statue. The Supreme Being shows up and, after restoring Og to human and reviving Fidgit, the Supreme Being orders them to start cleaning the mess up. As they work, Randall apologizes for stealing the map and the Supreme Being says that he allowed them to take it as he wanted to test his creation, Evil. When Kevin asks him why he created Evil, the Supreme Being tells him that it has to do with free will. When the dwarves knock over the statue of Evil, the Supreme Being says to pick up all the pieces, as it is concentrated Evil and could be deadly if not contained, but one piece goes unnoticed as it rolls under the tank. With all of the pieces picked up, the Supreme Being says that it is time to go and they leave but when Fidgit asks about Kevin, the Supreme Being says he can’t come with them as he has to continue the fight. Kevin asks them not to leave, as the last piece of Evil begins smoldering and filling the area with smoke. Suddenly, Kevin finds himself back in his room, as firefighters break down the door to rescue him. As one of the firefighters asks if Kevin is ok, Kevin is surprised to see that he looks just like Agamemnon. As the firefighter heads back to put out the fire, Kevin checks his satchel and finds the pictures that he took, realizing that the adventure that he had with the dwarves really happened. One of the firemen shows Kevin’s parents their new toaster oven, which was the cause of the fire, and when they open it, the piece of Evil is found inside. Kevin sees it and warns them not to touch it but they ignore him and as they touch it, they suddenly explode. As Kevin calls out for his parents in shock, the camera pans up from Kevin to show the neighborhood, planet, and eventually the map, which the Supreme Being then rolls up.
Time Bandits met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Time Bandits is a remarkable time-travel fantasy from Terry Gilliam, who utilizes fantastic set design and homemade special effects to create a vivid, original universe.” While filming the scenes in Sherwood Forest where Kevin and the dwarves crash through the carriage and land on Vincent and Pansy, Terry Gilliam had a scaffold built and was trying to instruct them on how to jump and land around Michael Palin without actually hitting them. However, when he decided to show them how to do it, he ended up landing on Shelley Duvall. The movie was a box office success, earning $42.3 million off of a $5 million budget, and would gain a cult following, especially among fans of Monty Python.
I know the critics love it but I honestly feel like this movie is somewhat under appreciated by the average movie goer as this is a really funny movie. The acting was really good, with Craig Warnock doing a great job as Kevin. The dwarves all had some good moments and bad, with my personal favorites being Kenny Baker (Fidgit), Malcolm Dixon (Strutter), and Jack Purvis (Wally), and this has nothing to do with the fact that they were all in the original Star Wars movies. The story was pretty interesting and honestly just showed Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin’s brilliance in comedy. I loved how they essentially made a movie from a child’s point of view and even though Kevin was meant to be the central focus of the movie, there were plenty of times that he was intentionally made out to be the secondary character in order to focus more on the dwarves. The somewhat biblical aspect of the Supreme Being, Evil, and the aspect of free will being the reason to have Evil, was written out very well and I liked how they wrote that plot line into the movie. The special effects were surprisingly good, especially considering the limited budget they had. A really good movie that is definitely worth watching.
Rating: 4 out of 5